I see from recent posts here that the "More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church" series of conferences (at Fordham University, Union Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and Fairfield University) is already getting some attention. The conferences, which will focus on LGBT lives in relation to Catholicism, will each take up a distinct aspect of the LGBT-Catholic relationship. (Disclosure: I am on the planning committee for the Fordham conference.) As I understand them, these conferences are intended to be occasions, in the spirit of academic freedom, for free and frank speech about sexual diversity as it impacts the lives of people in and related to the Catholic Church. In particular, the conferences are designed to welcome voices, insights, and questions that have perhaps not been as fully acknowledged in the official Catholic conversations to date.
No doubt some will be incredulous that such a conversation is even happening in the open, but no one has anything to fear from a patient and searching commitment to the pursuit of the truth, which these four institutions of higher education, and many others, so well protect and encourage. And respect within the Catholic tradition for the dignity of LGBT persons and their allies, and for their own diverse stories of their relationships to Catholicism, is hopefully a noncontroversial point. If all goes as planned, the conferences will be an enrichment to the Catholic conversation. I am grateful for the hope the conference series represents.
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York